“This is the most wonderful time of the year!” It is the holiday season and we have taken time to reflect on all the things we are grateful for in life (God, family, good harvest, homes, pets, etc.) We now lunge forward to the season between Thanksgiving and Christmas…SEED CATALOG TIME!
Once I receive these catalogs, I take inventory of my seeds that are leftover. It is important to realize that germination rates of the seeds decrease with each passing year. There are charts to let you know about some of these:
You can also check seed viability by placing seeds on a wet paper towel inside of a baggie. Keep them in a warm, dark place and wait for the seeds to sprout (this should be at most 6 days). After 6 days, you can see the germination rate…those that sprouted divided by the total number of seeds you placed in the bag gives you the percent germination rate. This can help you when planting to know that only some seeds (and about how many) will sprout. If your viability is very low, it is probably better to just purchase new seeds.
Once you know your inventory, my favorite part starts…PICKING OUT THIS YEARS NEW SEEDS. With heirloom varieties there are so many different varieties of the same vegetables varying in color, size, shape, etc. I always start by choosing the type of vegetable I am looking for. I then read up about the different varieties, looking for ease of germination, how they do in crazy weather (as WI can be quite variable), how long the growing season is for the variety, etc. If I didn’t save seed from a favored variety the previous year and am out of that seed, I will also purchase those.
The last major thing you want to keep in mind is a major limiting factor for me…space. The space in our seed starting area and the space in our gardens. If I have to start most of the seeds indoors (peppers, tomatoes, flowers, cabbage, broccoli, melons, squash, onions, leeks, celery, basil, parsley, etc.) this can take up a LOT of room. So planning your flats space and all that is very important.
Next blog post I will talk more about the nitty, gritty of seed starting indoors…something I am still trying to master, but getting better at each season!
I would love to hear what new varieties of seeds you are trying this year, and where you get your seeds from!!! Comment below 🙂